SANTA BARBARA — A two-month-long investigation into the city’s upsurge in graffiti vandalism came to an end last Wednesday with the arrest of a pair of active criminally artistic suspects.
In speaking to the media about the investigation, Santa Barbara Police Department spokesman Lt. Paul McCaffrey said the city has recently been victimized by a rash of graffiti crimes throughout the city’s Eastside neighborhoods. “We’ve had local businesses as well as public property targeted,” McCaffrey said, “including the new Caltrans sound walls along the freeway.”
As detailed by McCaffrey, on the evening of June 23, officers responded to a call reporting an out-of-control juvenile inside a local residence. Officers arrived at a lower Eastside home and were informed by family members of the various activities of a young male in the home. Among other statements, officers were told that the juvenile male maintained cans of spray paint and other graffiti materials in his room, and that the young male had boasted of nightly “tagging” activities.
When confronted by the officers, the young man admitted to his activities, and accompanied them on a tour of the local neighborhood to identify his handiwork for them.
Just hours later, at approximately 4 a.m. the following morning, officers patrolling other commercial graffiti target locations witnessed Julio Becerra, 21, in the act of spray-painting graffiti on the wall of a local retail business. A brief pursuit ended with the arrest of the suspect. Subsequently, with search warrant in hand, officers recovered spray cans, permanent markers, and assorted graffiti implements from Becerra’s residence. Becerra was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on felony charges of graffiti vandalism.